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The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion
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The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  10,177 ratings  ·  884 reviews
There are two paths in life: Should & Must.

We arrive at this crossroads over and over again, and every day. And we get to choose.

Starting out or starting over, making a career change or making a life change, the most life-affirming thing you can do is to honor the voice inside that says your have something special to give, and then heed the call and act. Many have travel
Hardcover, 161 pages
Published April 7th 2015 by Workman Publishing Company
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Average rating 3.96  · 
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 ·  10,177 ratings  ·  884 reviews

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Ali M.
May 05, 2015 rated it it was ok
Great construct, beautiful illustrations, but surprisingly superficial in the end. I think Maria Popova's summary of this book on has more punch than the book itself. There's no deep dive into the way that "should" rules our lives (for both good and ill), and the various forms in which "must" intersects it. And to be honest, the whole thing reads a little too much like a rich person's guide to the creative life. Yeah, sure, if I had been involved in a successful start-up in San ...more
Emily (Obsessed Reader)
Visually, this book is outstanding. The artwork is wonderful, and I loved the colors. The book itself is very inspiring, and is filled with some GREAT nuggets of wisdom. I didn't get as much out of it as I wanted to, but that isn't to say that I came away with nothing. I enjoyed reading it, and I think many people would get something out of it. For the artwork and quotes alone I would say it's worth a read! ...more
Aug 16, 2018 rated it liked it
While the book isn't particularly deep, it has beautiful artwork and simple messages that act as a good pick-me-up for anyone needing some motivation to pursue their goals in life. It's not life-changing, but it's a nice reminder to get started. ...more
Nov 20, 2018 rated it liked it
I read 'The Crossroads of Should and Must' and it made me roll my eyes so hard that they fell out of my head so now I'm sat here writing without eyes or blind drunk drinking whisky in my underwear and questioning my life choices; it's hard to say really.

I was excited to read this book. It started life as a piece on Medium which went viral and was eventually expanded. Elle Luna is a designer-cum-artist who has inspired millions with the story of her path to success, choosing the 'must' of her art
Arminda Lindsay
Short. Gorgeous. All the reminders. Gotta be about my must instead of ". . . really should write a longer review."

Buy it. Read it. Gift it. Be about it.
Anna Alexander
May 31, 2015 rated it it was ok
I really wanted to like this book. It's an approachable, nice book a friend gives you when you're in a rut or you pick it up off the shelf at a bookstore for its cover appeal, however, there's not a lot of substance beyond the water color paintings and appealing splashes of color and text. What there is is the same conversation about the shoulds and musts but no talk of the HOW. There's a couple of tired analogies thrown in to keep the conversation going but I found no clear road map to getting ...more
Elizabeth A
Dec 17, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2015, art
Oh, but I am so conflicted about this one. It's a five star idea in two star packaging.

I love so much the basic premise of this book: follow your bliss; be you. What's not to love about the notion of the crossroads of Should and Must? Shoulds are usually externally motivated, while Musts are usually a cry from our authentic self. This book does have some useful exercises and tips, and is a quick read, so I would recommend it to anyone interested in living a life that is fulfilling. Umm, wouldn'
Nicole Lynn
Apr 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
Visually appealing. Took maybe an hour and a half to read. Not as motivational as I thought it would be for a...well, motivational book.

I was given this book by a friend because he thought it closely aligned with some hurdles I've been experiencing with my own "Shoulds" and "Musts" and moreover I felt like this was just a brief overview of the matter at hand instead of really fleshing out the two ideas. I hear it was a blog post at first, so that kind of explains that. the concept driving this
Jeff Finley
May 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: personal-growth
I've read and heard quite a bit about following your passion. But Elle's book approaches the topic in such a pure way that resonates with my spirit. There is so much color and aliveness in this book. The book had so much ART, more right brain, more spirit, more play. Scribbles, doodles, and paint splashes adorned just about every page and it not only made it super easy to read, but fit the subject matter so perfectly. I felt totally inspired and moved by Elle's book that I'd recommend it over so ...more
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Woulda. Shoulda. Coulda. Elle Luna uses her artists' palette and inspiring words to draw a plum line between all of the shoulds and obligations in our lives and the musts that drive our dreams and passions. From job to career to passion there is a way to achieve your dreams. Finding the right balance is key. Easy to read. Simple to understand. Great jumping off point for following your dreams at any age. ...more
Shaimaa Ali
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
That was a marvelous read! recommended to me by my dear friend (Eman) & will be our book discussion this month in our work book-club schedule.
For some it can be a life-changer read .. for me I get assured that my road towards "Must" is the only road for me .. I've started applying it & I can feel the difference already!
Can't wait to read it again just before the discussion to grab my favorite quotes & ideas ..
Mary Magin
May 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: All
I picked this book up on the "Graduates" table at the book store. It's short, easy to read and packed with easily managed tasks to find and follow your passion. Unlike all the others, this book addresses managing real life and your musts. I love all the illustrations. Buy this for yourself and one for a friend. ...more
This is an expansion of a viral Medium article ( into a lovely illustrated journal of sorts. Very inspiring if you're struggling to figure out your "must," the thing that calls to you even as the world steers you to "should."

You should never _____.
You should always ______.
You should know better than to ______.
You should not______.

Ask your Shoulds...
"Where did you come from?"
"Are you true for me?"
"Do I want to keep holding onto you?"

The Empty Chair: swit
Sep 13, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This book is a mixture of greatness and "doesn't resonate with me". I'll start with what missed for me, and end on the high notes.

First, I'm clearly not the intended audience. Elle Luna (great name) is clearly writing to an audience that feels dissatisfaction with life; that there is some distance between where they are and where they MUST be. Her audience comes home at the end of the day unfulfilled, vaguely wishing for something different. Fortunately, that's not me. I love working and love my
Katt Hansen
Nov 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: self-help
The book is a very quick read, and kind of fun just to go through. The illustrations keep this upbeat and happy, not too preachy on the whole "I fixed my life, you can fix yours" thing that many self-help books can fall into. This is more of a journey - the discovering of what your calling is and how you can pursue it.

I still have a lot of the work to do in "discovering your must" but the exercises look interesting and I look forward to doing them when I have a moment to myself to sit down and t
Cass -  Words on Paper

The only barrier to your deepest and most frightening, but ultimately fulfilling, dreams is you. Luna implores you to stop choosing "Should"--all the conventions produced by modern socialisation, the expectations that others have pushed upon you from birth--and start choosing "Must". "Must" is what you truly are, what you are capable of, what you are to do simply and truly for its own sake. There is a fine distinction between job, career, and calling, but if you choose "Must" then perhaps t
Cheryl Anne
Nov 10, 2015 rated it liked it
This book has been staring at me from my bookshelves for months, so once I saw it on the list for Goodreads' Best Nonfiction of 2015, I figured this was the time.

First things first, this book is STUNNING. I could flip through these pages day after day and never get bored because it's just that beautiful. I loved turning each page just to see what painting would be next. BUT layout aside, I wish I could have connected with this one more. I think this book was just too "self help-y" for me and it
Nov 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was not at all what I was expecting. This book was essentially no more than a beautifully artistic pep talk that was so refreshing to my soul.

See other:
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this and found a lot to get my motivation revved up. There was a lot to work with--make lists about and journal about. And I love that. There were parts that were repetitive--it was a blog post first that got expanded, so that makes sense. But I really liked it.
Dec 31, 2019 added it
This review was originally posted on Alexa Loves Books.

My last read of 2019 is the book my sister Rachel picked out for me to read in November (and yes, I was totally late in reading it, but at least I got to it before the year ended): The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion. She was incredibly moved by this non-fiction/self-help book when she initially read it years ago and thought I would appreciate reading it too. And she was right! I really enjoyed the central theme w
Yaroslava Mashyko
At some point in our lives each of us starts to feel that doesn’t live to the full, doesn’t use all the abilities, doesn’t do what loves. This phenomenon is familiar to all of us, or at least to those who are not afraid to admit it. If you find yourself in this situation, be sure to read this book.
This book is not a collection of ready-made answers on the questions “What should I do? How to start? What’s next?” etc. , answers on these questions you have to seek by yourself. In such serious proce
Rachel A.  Dawson
A while ago, I stumbled upon a post on Medium called "The Crossroads of Should and Must" and instantly fell in love with the words and the writer. It was brilliantly, creatively presented through heartfelt narratives and adorable doodles. When I learned the post went viral, I wasn't surprised, and when I learned she would be turning it into a book, I was excited. It was such a fun read that reminded me of the power in choosing must and following our creative passions. If you're a creative of any ...more
Dec 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely beautiful and inspiring. Takes an hour or less to read if you don't stop to do the activities. On my second read through I did the activities to get to the bottom of some of my should's and what I realized is that "should" is an incredibly strong force in my life and has been for quite some time! I also realized that what I have always thought I wanted as a priority (art -- my "must") actually isn't being treated as a priority so I'm reevaluating what my must actually is at this stage ...more
This is the extended version of Elle Luna's essay:

If you were inspired by the essay and wished there were more of it, especially around the questions "what if I don't know what my Must is?" and "I know what my Must is -- now what?", this book is for you. Colorful and whimsical, but also practical and thoughtful, this book can transform your stuck thinking in the course of an hour. Highly recommended.
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
As someone who has now started and failed to complete The Artist's Way on three separate occasions, this book was a nice way to breezily blow myself in the direction I want to keep pushing myself toward. The bold palette and whimsy of the book itself serve as a nice model to push yourself toward wherever your creativity wants to go. ...more
Patricia Donovan
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. I bought it for myself at our neighborhood bookstore when I went for an author event and then I got a copy for my niece who is in her second year at college. I think it's a MUST read for anyone who is questioning what they want to be when they grow up, from 15 to 95. ...more
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's small, quick read and condensed. I absolutely love it. The drawings are amazing too.
I feel inspired by few ladies in the arts business, Elle is one of them.
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Very inspirational and smart! Loved this and would recommend it to anyone looking to find their Must.
Katey Lovell
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
May not be a new message, but one we all need reminding of from time to time, with beautiful accompanying artwork.
Emma Sea
a good blog essay, but even the oh-so-charmingly-quirky text illustrations can't make this into a book worth purchasing. ...more
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #112 The Crossroads of Should and Must by Elle Luna 1 2 Oct 30, 2016 09:49AM  
Modern Entreprene...: Giveaway 1 11 Feb 11, 2016 03:24PM  
Modern Entreprene...: Choose your Must 1 7 Feb 11, 2016 03:22PM  
Modern Entreprene...: Write your Obituary 1 8 Feb 10, 2016 04:20PM  
Modern Entreprene...: Week 2 Book 1 6 Feb 09, 2016 04:37PM  

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115 likes · 16 comments
“If you want to live the fullness of your life—if you want to be free—you must understand, first, why you are not free, what keeps you from being free. The word prison comes from the Latin praehendere, meaning to seize, grasp, capture. A prison doesn’t have to be a physical place; it can be anything your mind creates. What has taken ahold of you? The natural process of socialization requires that the individual be influenced by Shoulds in order to function as a part of society. However, as you grow up, it is healthy to be self-aware about the Shoulds you inherited. You might value and keep some Shoulds, while others you might choose to discard. If you want to know Must, get to know Should. This is hard work. Really hard work. We unconsciously imprison ourselves to avoid our most primal fears. We choose Should because choosing Must is terrifying, incomprehensible. Our prison is constructed from a lifetime of Shoulds, the world of choices we’ve unwittingly agreed to, the walls that alienate us from our truest, most authentic selves. Should is the doorkeeper to Must. And just as you create your prison, you can set yourself free.” 14 likes
“If you’re not prioritizing the things you say you care about, consider the possibility that you don’t actually care about those things.” 12 likes
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